Fresh from overcoming the obstacles posed by a thrilling first round, the eight sides still in the hunt for the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup New Zealand 2008 title are preparing to take the field once more. Getting the ball rolling will be Denmark and Korea DPR in the Wellington Stadium, just a few hours before favourites Germany test their mettle against a solid Canada side.
The following day's action centres on the Waikato Stadium in Hamilton, with the free-scoring Japanese kicking off Sunday's play against England. Bringing down the curtain on the quarter-finals is the duel between Korea Republic and USA sides growing in stature as the tournament progresses.
Match of the day
Germany-Canada, 8 November, 16.00 local time, Wellington
Everything has gone according to plan for Germany so far here in New Zealand. Winners of their first two games to book their place in the next round with a match to spare, the Europeans needed just 15 minutes to open the scoring against Costa Rica, five minutes to do so against Ghana and a mere 180 seconds to find the net against Korea DPR.
Up against them are a Canadian team that conceded just once in their three first-round matches. Coach Bryan Rosenfeld can also call upon the safe hands of Genevieve Richard, one of the outstanding goalkeepers on show during the group phase. With Germany the heavy favourites to progress, the pressure is off the young Canucks, who will nevertheless be determined to pull off a surprise.
On the evidence of their first-round displays, the quarter-final encounter between Denmark and Korea DPR should be a close-fought affair. Neither side has tasted defeat so far, and both have exhibited a high-tempo, technical brand of football allied with supreme levels of physical fitness.
The showdown between Korea Republic and USA also promises much. Caught cold in their opening group matches by Nigeria and Japan respectively, both teams showed their resolve to book a place in the last eight. While the Taeguk Ladies' hopes lie with wily goal-poacher So Yun Ji, Kazbek Tembi's USA have, in Vicki DiMartino, a striker averaging a goal a game so far.
England enter the knockout stage on the back of a 3-0 defeat by Korea Republic and need to rediscover the attacking finesse that enabled them to put three past Brazil, and the defensive solidity that kept Nigeria's livewire forwards at bay. Unfortunately for Lois Fidler's charges, they now face tournament sensations Japan, scorers of 17 goals in winning all three of their group matches - the only 100 per cent record so far at New Zealand 2008. The only cloud on the horizon for coach Hiroshi Yoshida's squad is the absence of suspended defender Minori Chiba, sent off against Paraguay.
60 - The number of years that have passed since the Olympic Football Tournament 1948, the last FIFA competition where every team in the quarter-final stage hailed from the northern hemisphere.
What they said
"Denmark is a small country and we can be proud of having qualified (for the quarter-finals). Now we've fulfilled our objective, the players will be able to relax and make the most of the latter stages of the event," Bent Eriksen, Denmark coach.